Are you unsatisfied with your business website? If you think it looks out of date, confusing or messy, your customers probably think so too.

Research has shown that 94% of negative website feedback is related to design. Making a good first impression is vital when users can click away to a competitor's site, and it takes as little as 0.05 seconds for someone to decide if they like what they see.

If your website needs a new look, you don't have to be a web design expert or to hire a designer. Sometimes, small tweaks and identifying what works and what doesn't can be all that's needed to make your site a success.

Here are some of the most important website design tips for 2019.

Use color wisely

If you have established brand colors, these should form the basis of your website. Color increases brand recognition by 80%, especially when you choose your palette for maximum impact.

Much research has been done on the psychology of color and how it can influence customer habits, from urgent orange and red encouraging action to dependable blue building trust. From your images to your headings, accents and backgrounds, there are plenty of opportunities to use color on every page.

Bright, saturated colors and gradients are on trend for web design in 2019, but you should consider whether this style is a suitable fit for your business.

Less is more

Customers appreciate clean, uncluttered layouts that keep things simple. Whether you're creating menus or writing introduction text, aim to boil things down to what's most important. You might find that you can use fewer words to say the same thing, or combine several menu options into one for more efficient navigation, especially as more people now browse websites on their phones and appreciate simplicity.

Don't fill every available space with widgets, sidebars and images. Before you add any element to a page, consider whether it will truly be useful to customers or distract from the main purpose of the page. Blank space helps to break up sections more clearly and can make your text and links stand out.

Improve your images

Web pages with images get more views and appear higher in search results, but not any old image will do.

In 2019, where everyone has a high definition camera phone in their pocket, there's no excuse for using poor quality images on your website. High quality doesn't mean a large file size though, and if you use too many large images on a page, this will slow down loading times and lead to your site being penalized. Using software like Photoshop and web design plugins, you can optimize images by reducing their file size without any visual drop in quality.

As well as looking good, your images should also be authentic. Customers can intuitively tell when something feels artificial or insincere, which is why you should avoid stock photos and graphics when possible in favor of your own custom content. Photos of you and your team captured while you're going about your work also feel more relatable than staged professional photography. It goes without saying that you should never use someone else's image or graphics without permission.

Be responsive

More people now browse the web on their phones than on a desktop or laptop. If your website is only designed for people sitting at a computer, you'll be neglecting most of your audience and will be penalized by Google. That's why it's essential that websites in 2019 are mobile-friendly.

You can check how your page looks on mobile by viewing it on your smartphone or using Google's Mobile-Friendly Test. You don't need to build a separate version of your website for mobile when you use a responsive website builder, as this will automatically detect what type of device is being used to access the site and load the appropriate version.

Publish a blog

If you don't already keep a business blog, adding one to your website can have a number of benefits – but it does take commitment to keep writing on a regular basis.

Publishing blog posts grows your website, meaning there are more opportunities for people to find you. When you blog about topics that people are interested in and that offer value, your content is more likely to get shared on social media, building your audience and your reputation.

The more often you can publish, the more effective blogging will be, but many businesses find that the ideal frequency is once every one to two weeks. It's useful to plan a blog strategy so you don't run out of topics and to make sure you're covering all the bases.

Monitor your traffic

How do people find your website and how are they interacting with it? This is vital information you need to know for building on and improving your business website.

You can analyze your site statistics through your content management system or Google Analytics to find out what search queries are bringing people to your pages so you can target these more heavily. You can also see which pages or blog posts are performing the best and the worst, to adjust your content strategy going forward, and see which days or times people are visiting your site to schedule your posts for maximum impact.

When you've identified your most successful content, check whether it's as good as it could be and take the opportunity to add any links, contact details or other calls to action that could boost conversions.

Test drive your site

As your website grows with your business, it's natural that older pages may start look less polished or won't fit in as your style has evolved. In many cases, the first pages you write will be the most important ones, so it's important not to let these stagnate and to review and rewrite your core pages when necessary.

Put yourself in a site visitor's shoes and click around your website to see how easy it is to find the information you want and take action. Think from the perspective of all your target personas and note down anything that can be improved in navigation, layout, appearance or tone.

Refresh your theme

If you're using a DIY website builder, you could make dramatic changes to the way your website looks and feels simply by changing or customizing the template theme. Test out various themes to see which one is the best match for your brand.

Limecube has a wide selection of free website themes to choose from and more tools that make it simple to create a website for your business. Find out more about our easy drag-and-drop website builder.